Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommended Wednesday (December 1) to the Michigan Legislature that 117 recreation development projects and land acquisitions totaling $45,592,200 be funded in 2022. The board this year considered a total of 136 applications seeking over $59.1 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria approved by the Trust Fund board.
“The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund continues to provide the significant investment that creates better, broader access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities for Michigan residents and visitors throughout our state,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Whether you’re camping, enjoying a park close to home, exploring forest trails or just taking in a scenic view, all of these Trust Fund-supported experiences contribute mightily to local economies and our mental and physical well-being.”
The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will further access to public outdoor recreation.
This year, the board recommended $22.3 million for acquisition grants and $23.3 million for development grants. There were 18 acquisition grants awarded to local units of government for a total of $14,249,700 while four acquisition grants went to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $8,050,000. The Trust Fund board also recommended a total of $20,072,500 in 82 development grants be awarded to local units of government while 13 DNR projects garnered a total of $3,220,000.
“As our state navigated a second year amid COVID-19 uncertainty, the importance of green spaces and public recreation facilities became a key focus,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Time and again, Michigan residents and visitors turned to trails, parks, sports fields and other welcoming public places where they could get out of the house, soak up the sun and connect with family and friends.”
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest and earnings on funds derived from the revenues of state-owned oil, gas and minerals. Over the past 45 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1.2 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.
“Trust Fund grants, with the tradition of fundraising for critical match dollars, help local governments and recreation authorities acquire land and develop recreation amenities,” said Trust Fund Board Chair Erin McDonough. “This ranges from quaint neighborhood parks to larger, regional recreation areas and networks of multiuse trails systems.”
The Trust Fund board’s recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature forwards a bill to the governor for her signature.
A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available Michigan.gov/MNRTF.